Goh Shan Chin (m.w.) v Tay Peng Sim

CourtDistrict Court (Singapore)
JudgeLim Hui Min
Judgment Date18 December 2002
Neutral Citation[2002] SGDC 350
Citation[2002] SGDC 350
Publication Date16 January 2004
Plaintiff CounselMr Ong Beng Leong (M/s Ong Beng Leong & Co)
Defendant CounselMr Nicholas Cheong (M/s Lim Soo Peng & Co)
SubjectFamily Law,Application for security for costs by wife petitioner


1. The Petitioner in the above petition has applied by way of Summons-in-Chambers No. 652282 of 2002 (“the SIC”) for security for costs against the Respondent. I have decided to dismiss the application, and set out my reasons below.


2. The Divorce Petition had been filed on 6 August 2002, and served on 17 August 2002. The Respondent had entered appearance in the matter on 8 October 2002, stating that he intended to contest the Petition. He filed his Answer on 22 October 2002. The SIC was filed on 1 November 2002. No supporting affidavit was filed, but the SIC contained a statement stating that the grounds of the application were that the Respondent is a bankrupt. Although the Respondent’s counsel had stated that the Petitioner should have filed an affidavit to present evidence of the Respondent’s bankruptcy, the fact that the Respondent is a bankrupt has not been directly disputed by the Respondent’s counsel. I have therefore accepted that the Respondent is indeed a bankrupt.

Procedural Defaults

3. I do note, however, that an application for security for costs (under Order 23 of the Rules of Court) should ordinarily be supported by an affidavit. The Petitioner’s failure to file an affidavit in this matter has meant that the Petitioner is unable to rely on anything except the fact of the Respondent’s bankruptcy in support of her application.

4. The summons or affidavit should also indicate the amount of security required and a skeleton bill of costs should be prepared to show that amount is made up. (See page 257, Halsbury’s Laws of Singapore, Volume 4, Civil Procedure) None of this had been done by the Petitioner’s counsel, who merely made an oral submission that the amount of security ordered should be $5000. It is my view that similar practices should be applicable to Rule 48 of the Matrimonial Proceedings Rules, which is the rule under which this application was taken out. However, this is an issue which would only have been relevant if I had granted the application for security for costs and proceeded to decide on the quantum of such security. There is therefore no necessity to dwell on this any further.

Application for Security for Costs—Principles Applicable

5. Rule 48 of the Matrimonial Proceedings Rules allows a wife petitioner or respondent to apply for security for costs against the husband petitioner or respondent.

6. Under Order 23 of the Rules of Court, the court has the discretionary power to order security for costs if having regard to all the circumstances of the case, the court thinks it just to do so, but only under certain limited conditions, i.e.:

1) Where the plaintiff is ordinarily out of jurisdiction;

2) Where the plaintiff, not being a plaintiff who is suing in a representative capacity is a nominal plaintiff, who is suing for the benefit of some other person and that there is reason to believe that he will be unable to pay the costs of the defendant if ordered to do so;

3) That the address of the plaintiff is not stated in the writ or other originating process, or is incorrectly stated there, unless the court is satisfied that the failure to state the address or the misstatement was made innocently and without intention to deceive; and

4) That the plaintiff has changed his address during the course of the proceedings with a view to evading the consequences of the litigation.

7. Thus, the applicant for security for costs (the defendant) must show that the plaintiff falls into one of the categories stated above. Secondly, he must then show that having regard to all the circumstances of the case, it is just for the courts to order security for costs. (See Amar Hoseen Mohammed Revai v. Singapore...

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